Sunday, September 03, 2006

The Google Sandbox –

Is there really a google sandbox? A lot of bloggers out there think so.

I really didn’t know that there was a thing called the “google sandbox”, until I was gathering the information I needed to write “New to Blogging? Find out the....... " and came across a blog written about the sandbox.

I decided that since I’m still not getting much traffic to my site, why not write a blog and share with you what I have so far compiled together on the definition of the “google sandbox” to make it easier for all you new bloggers out there who (like me) are running out of patience since, yea, there’s not much traffic coming into our sites, and to better understand why it’s happening and whether it really is because of the “sandbox” theory.

What is the “Google Sandbox”? -

Alan Cole’s definition-

“The Google Sandbox is a metaphorical term to explain why most new websites have very poor rankings in Google Search Engine Results Pages (SERPS). Very few people know for sure if the 'sandbox' actually exists, but it seems to be a filter added to the Google algorithms sometime around March 2004” (Alan Cole,

Wayne Hurlbert’s definition -

The Google Sandbox is an alleged filter placed on new websites. The result is that a site does not receive good rankings for its most important keywords and keyword phrases. Even with good content, abundant incoming links and strong Google PageRank, a site is still adversely affected by the Sandbox effect. The Sandbox acts as a de facto probation for sites, possibly to discourage spam sites from rising quickly, getting banned, and repeating the process.
The Google Sandbox is very similar to a new website being placed on probation, and kept lower than expected in searches, prior to being given full value for its incoming links and content (Wayne Hurlbert)

Why the sandbox?

It is thought that the reason Google created the Sandbox new site filter was to stop spam related sites from adding numerous purchased links--and ranking highly for their keywords from the date of launch. Since Google apparently considers a high number of links pointing to a site from the beginning to be rather suspicious, the links are not considered to be natural. Another possibility is spam sites would use various tactics to rise to the top of the search results, and gain heavy sales prior to being banned for being in violation of Google’s Terms of Service; and then repeating the process continually. As a result, new sites are put into a form of probation, usually referred to as the Google Sandbox. (Wayne Hurlbert,The

The generally accepted principle behind the Google Sandbox is that it enables Google to filter out 'Flash-in-the-Pan' websites from those that offer good quality, up-to-date content. It is within Googles interest to ensure that the results it displays to its users within the SERPS lead to highly relevant, up-to-date, useful websites Relevancy is key to the search engines success so it will take all steps it can to ensure the relevancy of its search results. Filtering out new websites and monitoring them may allow them to provide more accurate results within the real SERPS (Alan Cole).

How long will it be before one gets out of the sandbox?

“The only real escape from the Sandbox is time. Depending on the competitiveness of your most important keywords, that time can vary from one to six months, with three to four months being the normal duration. In the meantime, continue to improve your site, and be prepared to make a rapid rise once the Sandbox probation ends” (Wayne Hurlbert).

It is difficult to say how long a website will stay in the Google sandbox as this seems to depend on the types of keywords it will be completing for in the real SERPS It can be up to 6-8 months and the only way to get out of the sandbox is to wait. The Google Sandbox isn't all bad news. If your site contains good quality relevant material it will find its way out of the sandbox and will get the rankings it deserves in the Google SERPS. I even have some theories that may mean that your time in the sandbox can be used wisely to actually improve your final rankings (Alan Cole).

What can I do to improve my site while it’s in the sandbox?

While your site is in the Sandbox, it’s an ideal time to continue to add fresh keyword rich content and new incoming links to your site. Adding incoming links will ensure that they also avoid any possible new link dampening filter that might be in effect. They would be well aged and ready to pass along their full value of PageRank and link popularity as the site rises from the depths of the Sandbox (Wayne Hurlbert).

What’s type of links should be added onto one’s site to reduce the time spent in the sandbox?

A linking strategy should concentrate on developing natural incoming theme relevant links as its ultimate objective. While that goal is a bit idealistic for many website owners, it certainly has the potential to avoid any filters. By providing precisely the type of link Google prefers, it is far less likely to trigger any dampeners, if at all. Because they are added gradually over time, relevant natural links are highly unlikely to be sandboxed.
To receive this type of natural incoming link, strong theme relevant content must be developed for the website. Good informative content for website visitors attracts links. The problem is that natural linking is a slow process, and the real world SERPs need faster attention.
Add one-way directory links. Google’s spider crawls the major, and even minor directories, on a very frequent basis. Categorized directory links, especially from human edited directories, are very relevant and theme oriented.
Keep link exchange programs confined to theme relevant sites. Avoid exchanges with websites that have little to no topic relation to your site. Entirely non-relevant links are much more likely to be viewed with suspicion by Google, and possibly filtered.
We already are quite certain, that Google passes along more PageRank and link popularity boost from theme relevant sites, than from topically unrelated sites.
When making link exchanges, space them out over a period of time. Instead of doing all of the link trades in one week, use a two to three month time frame instead.
A longer time lag will give each link a full opportunity to be integrated into the Google system, and avoid being dampened (Wayne Hurlbert).

Is there a way to keep my site from getting stuck in the sandbox?

The Sandbox can be avoided to a degree by purchasing and sending live a website, prior to its being fully ready for prime time. While the site will endure low rankings, it will start the clock ticking on its Sandbox duration time. Be sure to add as many incoming links as possible to get past the alleged new links filter. Keep adding content to your site. Anything that can be done to speed up your site’s appearance on the internet, including the purchase of an already existing domain, should be considered. If you have the time working in your site’s favor, it can be applied against your possible stay in the Sandbox. With proper time management, a site can avoid the Sandbox entirely Wayne Hurlbert).

Well, hope you guys enjoyed reading this blog and for those of you had very little knowledge of what the “Google Sandbox” really was (as I was before) I hope this blog helped.



Blogger Rene' said...

I have to admit that like you, I had not been aware of the "Sandbox Effect".

While my husband tends to be a bean-counter when it comes to his blog, Booksteve's Library, I have more of a message in a bottle attitude to View from the Sandbox. I named it that because my political, social and religious attitudes were filtered through being a mother.

For those who want to actively get their words out, especially in the first year or so, they can do what my husband does and "meet and greet" with other bloggers. I think that the sandbox gives people time to hone their craft.

Take care.

3:37 PM  

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